Atlanta Day Trips, Atlanta Explorations, City Parks, Cultural Cuisine, Distillery, Drinks, Eats, Events, Festivals, Free, Georgia, Hiking, Microbrewery, Museums, Nature Preserve, No meat, Sports, Travel, Wine, Zoo
We have been on a bit of a hiatus for the last month or so, because we have gone through some massive changes and exciting adventures. Approximately a month ago, we packed up our stuff and donated all of our furniture to Lutheran Services of Georgia. We moved our stuff from ATL to STL and then, following a wedding weekend in Kansas City, we headed out to a 2 week trip out west to explore our nation’s beautiful national parks and wildlife. Afterwards, we spent a week in St. Louis getting our affairs in order, and then with a rental car drove up to NYC, the Big Apple, to begin a new and somewhat nerve-wracking adventure. We stayed with a friend while we looked for an apartment and, somehow, we found a place within the first day. Thus far, we have had some amazing experiences, eaten some delicious food, and seen some incredible places. We thought we should reflect on the last three and a half years we have spent together in Atlanta exploring and highlight some of the places we never made it to. We tried to explore as much as we could, but there is always more to see and do. We listed below all of the things we were unable to get to, and we will also continue to share the places we visited.
Activities: For those who work 9-5 Monday through Friday, a few of these may be difficult to get to; however, there are a variety of Georgia attractions options available to explore.
- Federal Reserve Bank: In the center of downtown Atlanta is the Federal Reserve Bank, and it provides visitors with the opportunity to tour the facility and learn more about our nation’s banking system. Tours are offered throughout the week, Monday through Friday.
- North Georgia Zoo: In Cleveland, GA there is a rather interactive zoo that allows you to visit as you typically would a zoo, but also, for an additional cost, be involved in various encounters with several different critters.
- Governor’s Mansion Tour: Tuesday-Thursday from 10:30-11:30, there is a public tour that visitors can go on to explore the governor of Georgia’s mansion.
- Porsche Experience Center: Atlanta happens to be one of two locations in the country (the other being Los Angeles) where visitors can experience driving a Porsche for a much smaller fee than actually purchasing one. Visitors can select the car they want to drive and, for a fee, get to drive a Porsche for a specified duration of time. There is also a tour you can go on, even if you don’t test drive one of the cars, to learn more behind the development of the automobile and the history of the company.
- Georgia Guidestones: A rather unusual Atlanta attraction is the Georgia Guidestones. The site is in Elbert County, GA and is a monument comprised of large stones standing upright with inscriptions in various languages on them. The monument is shrouded in mystery making for an interesting story to tell.
- Callaway Gardens: Callaway Gardens in southwestern Georgia, near Roosevelt’s Little White House, is comprised of sprawling gardens, a resort, various events throughout the year, several dining options, and different activities to partake in such as educational classes, golfing, outdoor concerts, and more. Prices vary depending on what activities and events you partake in. The resort is only a couple hours from Atlanta, making for a great getaway option.
- Center for Puppetry Arts: Both a museum and a theater, the Center for Puppetry Arts is located in downtown Atlanta and is a popular attraction for Atlanta families.
- Bear Hollow Zoo: A small, but free zoo is Bear Hollow Zoo in Athens, GA that is filled with critters that could not be released back into the wild, including a few black bears.
- Silver Comet Trail: The Silver Comet Trail is a path just north of Atlanta that runs all the way to Alabama for bikers, hikers, runners, and walkers to enjoy getting exercise and being outdoors.
- Georgia State Capitol Tour: Through Georgia State University, visitors can partake in a tour of Georgia’s capitol, Atlanta. There is also a capitol museum visitors can explore to learn more about the history of Georgia.
- Chamblee Antique Row: Located in Chamblee, GA, near the perimeter, is an excellent opportunity to go antiquing. There is a compilation of hundreds of vendors selling various goods, making for a fun day of shopping.
- Barrington Hall, Smith Planation, & Bulloch Hall: If you love period homes and history, three period homes in Roswell, GA-Barrington Hall, Smith Plantation, and Bulloch Hall-may be a great activity for you. In the nearby Atlanta suburb, visitors can partake in a tour of one of the historic homes, as well as explore the grounds. There are three separate homes to visit; however, you can explore all three through the trilogy tour ticket.
- Atlanta Falcons: The NFL team in Atlanta is the Falcons, and last season was a pretty exciting year for the city since the team made it into the Superbowl. We never made it to a game while we lived in Atlanta, but for football fans this is an excellent opportunity to get out and watch a game (plus it should be much warmer than a lot of other US cities).
- Historic Oakland Cemetery: The Historic Oakland Cemetery in downtown Atlanta is often at the top of most Atlanta visit lists as it is known for numerous notable burials. The cemetery has tours for visitors to explore the historic grounds.
- Wild Animal Safari: At Wild Animal Safari visitors drive through a vast park that allows them to see animals up close. You can either drive through in your own car or go on a bus with a guided tour. The park states it has up to 70 different species and 550 animals to see. It is located in Pine Mountain, GA a couple hours southwest of Atlanta.
- Gibbs Gardens: Just north of the Atlanta metro area is Gibbs Gardens, a 220 acre garden full of beautiful plants and flowers. Each season, a new part of the garden comes to life for visitors to enjoy, as well as various events throughout the year. The hours vary depending on the time of year so check out their website.
- Stargazing Opportunities: At both Georgia Tech and the Fernbank Science Center, visitors can stargaze at the observatory for free.
Breweries: We tried to visit all of the Atlanta brews; however, new ones just kept popping up! Enjoy.
- Scofflaw Brewery: This brewery is situated in western Atlanta and is open Thursday through Sunday, making it easy for Atlanta city dwellers to visit.
- Southern Sky Brewing: In Kennesaw, GA, Southern Sky Brewing has an impressive beer list that is ever-changing and the opportunity to try some exclusive small batches. The brewery is open Friday and Saturday, but make sure you check times.
- Dry County Brewing: Another brewery is popping up in Kennesaw, GA. Dry County has a wide variety of beers on tap and it continues to update its tap list. Tours (& tasting) are available Thursday through Saturday.
- Hop Alley Brew Pub: A brewpub located in Alpharetta, this is ideal for visitors who want to perhaps try a few beers, but also want a delicious and hearty meal. Besides offering their own beers, they have a substantial list of solid beers available as well. They are open every day, so for some eats and brews-check them out!
- Southern Brewing Company: Even though Atlanta is the capital of Georgia and offers a vast array of breweries, Athens may be, in fact, the beer capital. Southern Brewing is fairly new to the brewery scene but, like other Athen’s breweries, it is receiving solid reviews from devout craft beer fans. They are open Thursday through Saturday and offer a fantastic line-up of beers on tap, as well as a variety of seasonal beers, annuals, and small batch brews.
- Akademia Brewing: This is currently only a ghost brewery out of Athens, but keep an eye open for their brews and a possible tasting room.
- Left Nut Brewing: Located in Gainesville, GA this brewery offers both beers and ciders. The brewery is open Thursday through Sunday at varying times in the afternoon or evening, so make sure you check what time it is open. They have a variety of beers on tap, but offer primarily session beers.
Distillery, Cider, & Meads: This has been a newer emergence in the Atlanta scene; however, we find them to be fun and tasty, so please check them out!
- Independent Distillery: In Decatur, GA, Independent Distillery boasts being the first to produce bourbon in the Atlanta perimeter since prohibition. The distillery also offers whiskey and rum, providing a variety for your individual tastes. They do have a tour on Saturdays, so stop by and learn more about how a variety of liquors are made for a fun afternoon activity.
- ASW Distillery: Adjacent to Sweet Water Brewing Company, ASW specializes in whiskey. The distillery will be a year old as of September 2017, but already is making waves in your glass with the introduction of bourbon shortly! They offer a variety of different tour options Thursday through Saturday, so pick a tour and enjoy some sips.
- Lazy Guy Distillery: In downtown Kennesaw, GA, Lazy Guy Distillery brings whiskey to the northwest Atlanta metro area. They offer free tours on Saturday and, Friday through Saturday, you can partake in tastings during their Spirit Lab hours.
- Viking Alchemist Meadery: Located in Marietta, GA, the Viking Alchemist Meadery specializes in mead. Mead is an alcoholic beverage created from fermented honey and sometimes fruit. Though not as popular as it was a couple thousand years ago, mead is slowly making a comeback. They have a tasting room open for a couple hours Thursday through Saturday so you can partake in enjoying this ancient beverage.
- Treehorn Cider: As far as we know, Treehorn Cider does not have a tasting room yet, but you can purchase their hard cider at a variety of locations throughout the ATL. We have had a couple and found them to be quite enjoyable!
Festivals & Events: We love the arts and learning more about different cultures. Festivals are a great way to explore, and here is a list of a few festivals and events we didn’t make it to, but wish we did!
- Atlanta Jazz Festival: This is one of Atlanta’s biggest events throughout the year at Piedmont Park, and it is free! The festival is Memorial Day weekend and has a vast array of jazz artists performing. So grab a chair or blanket to sit on and enjoy the sweet sounds!
- Chalk Festival: Also known as Chalktoberfest, we had this on our calendar every year, but somehow a wedding or shower was always scheduled on this day, and we missed it every year. Located in downtown Marietta, Charlktoberfest brings together exquisite chalk artwork on the streets around the Marietta Square and their annual craft beer festival.
- Atlanta Arab Festival: Near the end of April each year, the Atlanta Arab Festival provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about Arab culture through dance, food, and music. It is through the Alif institute, which has various activities as well throughout the year.
- Renaissance Festival: The Atlanta Renaissance Festival is a large event with plenty of entertainment and events, food, and shopping opportunities. The event is also long-you have the ability to visit from mid-April through the beginning of June.
- Cherokee Indian Festival: Each year Canton hosts a Cherokee festival featuring dancing, Native American displays, and crafts. While the festival is held on traditional Cherokee land, the festival includes Native Americans from many other tribes. It is held Mothers’ Day weekend.
- Decatur Arts Festival: The Decatur Arts Festival occurs near the end of May, and features the work of many local artists, from painters to sculptors to musicians.
- Strawberry Festival: There are a variety of strawberry festivals throughout Georgia, held from April through mid-May, including those at Jaemor Farms, Mitcham Farm, and the Georgia Strawberry Festival in Reynolds. All of these feature items related to that delicious red berry, the strawberry.
- Tennessee State Pow Wow: This event is actually in Nashville, about four hours from Atlanta, but it is a larger event than some of those held in Georgia. The pow wow boasts that many Native American tribes come to this event, so it is not to be missed for those who want to learn more about the many different Native American tribes. The pow wow is held each fall.
- Emory University: We went to a couple performances they offered; however, we probably did not take enough advantage of this gem. Emory provides the community with a plethora of arts events, including concerts, plays, dance performances, and more!
- Please note there are several other colleges in the area that offer small art exhibits and performances as well, such as Georgia Tech, Agnes Scott College, Oglethorpe University, Georgia State University, and Kennesaw State University.
Hikes: Georgia has provided us with a vast array of options for hiking and exploring the outdoors. Since our goal was to visit all of the Georgia State Parks that were a part of the Friends of Georgia/Georgia State Park pass we didn’t make it to everywhere we wanted to visit. If you enjoy getting out and and hiking the trail, this is a list of some stellar trails we heard about that we wish we made it to!
- Benton Mckaye Trail: This trail is named after the man who proposed the Appalachian Trail and is 50 miles long, making it great for those who love backpacking.
- Desoto Falls: A short hike in North Georgia is Desoto Falls that leads you to a rather popular waterfall.
- Raven Cliff Falls: A little under 5 miles, this is another popular trail near Helen, GA that takes you to a waterfall.
- Blood Mountain: This trail is along the Appalachian Trail and one of the highest points in Georgia. Our friends who have hiked this trail raved that it was their favorite trail in Georgia.
- Springer Mountain: This is probably the most well-known hike on this list nationally as it is the beginning of the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia.
- Buck Shoals State Park: This park is located in Cleveland, GA near Helen, GA and is known primarily for fishing.
- Pine Mountain: Located inside the FD Roosevelt State Park is a well-known 23 mile trail that provides views of both Alabama and Georgia.
- Panther Creek: A favorite among many Georgians, Panther Creek has a variety of trails you can take to get to several different waterfalls.
Museums: Atlanta, unlike a lot of major cities, has a relatively small art/museum scene; however, there are still a variety of options to learn more. We encourage you to check out the major museums, as well as the smaller museums. This is a list of museums we didn’t make to; however, please check out the museums we did visit in previous posts.
- Anne Frank Museum: In Sandy Springs, GA, a suburb of Atlanta, is the Anne Frank Museum. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and offers free admission.
- The Breman Museum: The Breman Museum provides a broader overview of Jewish History, while focusing specifically on Jews in the south and the Holocaust. The museum is located in downtown Atlanta and is open Sunday through Friday, making it available for those who work Monday through Friday. Admission is $12, unless you are a member of the Bremen Museum.
- CDC Museum: For those of you who love science or just would like the opportunity to learn more about the medical field, Atlanta offers a rather unique opportunity-the CDC Museum. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) is at the forefront of public health in the United States and the world. The CDC museum provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the CDC and the massive steps they are taking as an institution to help people around the globe. The museum is located right next to Emory and is open Monday through Friday free of charge!
- Margaret Mitchell House: Though connected with the Atlanta History Center, the home of the Gone With the Wind author, Margaret Mitchell, is a separate house museum tour. The house is open daily and does have admission.
- The Children’s Museum of Atlanta: Located in downtown Atlanta near The World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium, the Children’s Museum is geared to children ages 0-8 to explore, learn, and have fun.
- The Center for Civil and Human Rights: In the heart of downtown Atlanta, this museum highlights the Civil Rights movement, as well as ongoing human rights movements today. This museum is a part of the Bank of America program, but typically does require admission and is open daily, with varying hours on Sunday.
- Georgia Rural Telephone Museum: This museum is outside the Atlanta perimeter in Leslie, GA along the SAM Shortline train route that stops off at various historic small Georgia towns. The museum is open Monday through Friday and boasts the largest antique and telephone collection in the world.
- Southeast Railway Museum: In Duluth, GA a museum dedicated to trains is any ferroequinologist’s dream! Their hours vary depending on the time of year, so make sure you check our their webpage. Additionally, besides a museum and a plethora of trains and railway memorabilia to explore, they also offer train rides.
- Marietta Fire Museum: Downtown Marietta is home to several museums, including the Fire Museum, which has a sizeable collection of items used by the Fire Department dating back to the early 1800s. The museum is open Monday through Friday and admission is free, making it perfect for an afternoon activity.
- Robert C Williams Paper-Making Museum: This little museum is actually located on Georgia Tech’s campus and offers free admission Monday through Friday to learn more about the paper-making process.
- The Wrens Nest: Visitors can see the home of Joel Chandler Harris, the author of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit. His home is the oldest house museum in the city of Atlanta, and it offers tours, a variety of classes, and storytelling. Admission is $6; however, you can pay $8 admission, and it will get you into both the Wrens Nest, that preserves African folklore, as well as the Hammonds House, which is dedicated to African Art.
- Callanwolde Fine Arts Center: Next to Emory University, Callanwolde is the former mansion of the Candler family and thus is a grand facility offering a variety of fine art experiences. The art center provides a variety of art classes, summer camps, an outdoor summer music series, and an exquisite Christmas celebration each year. Visitors partake in not only the arts offered, but the beauty of the property and the building itself. Unless you are a veteran, there is a fee with entry; however, there is a self-guided tour for visitors to explore the mansion.
- Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA): A museum dedicated exclusively to design, MODA offers visitors an opportunity to take in a variety of different types of art. Also, the museum offers a free day every second Sunday of the month!
Parks & Preserves: Sometimes all you need is a little fresh air! For those of you who want to just get out and walk a little trail, be out of the city bustle, and take in some sites and sounds of nature, these are a few parks we didn’t get to try, but were hoping to.
- Cascade Springs Nature Preserve: A charming waterfall and trails within the city limits are the features of this park. The preserve is located in the southwest corridor of the city.
- Glenn Creek Nature Preserve: In Decatur, GA is a small two acre nature preserve that emphasizes the community coming together in a natural setting.
- Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve: Also located in Decatur, GA is a larger 28 acre nature preserve that provides visitors with an array of opportunities to see critters!
- Buckhead Triangle Park: This little park is in the heart of Buckhead.
- Sunken Park: This fun little park is in the Virigina Highlands/Morningside neighborhood and, as the name suggests, the park is sunken down below the rest of the street level. We always thought it looked like a fun visit and plan on going the next time we are in town just to play a little soccer.
- Mary Scott Nature Park: Located right off of Briarcliff, this 10 acre park allows you to get some time out of the city bustle for even a little bit.
- Elachee Nature Center: For those who live in the eastern suburbs of Atlanta, Elachee Nature Center in Gainesville, GA provides visitors with the opportunity to hike some trails and learn more about the environment in the nature center. Admission is $5, unless you are a member.
Restaurants: These were all restaurants we wanted to visited, but never quite made it to; however, we heard great reviews about each of them!
- Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Known for Southern food, this seems like the restaurant to visit for Southern cuisine.
- Ok Cafe: This cafe is known for burgers and an old-fashioned diner feel.
- Sufi’s: Upscale Persian dining in downtown Atlanta-this sounds fantastic!
- Blind Willie’s Blues: We were told this is an Atlanta classic with a variety of blues artists every night while enjoying drinks or a bite to eat.
- Canoe: This restaurant has been visited by several of our friends, and they emphasized the high quality ingredients while overlooking the Chattahoochee River. We definitely would like to have a delicious meal with a nice view.
- Cooks & Soldiers: Known for its Basque cuisine, we were desperately hoping to try this for cultural night, and plan on going to it as soon as we return!
- Leon’s: We continued to hear rave reviews about the delicious quality of Leon’s food and would like to try it for ourselves.
- Whiskey Bird: Honestly we wanted to visit this place because the name sounded fun; however, they boast American cuisine with Asian flare via their website.
- Sundial: For a great Atlanta view, the Sundial was on the top of our list to visit, but they were closed for some time. The Sundial allows visitors to have incredible skyline views with fine dining.
- The General Muir: This fun little eatery is known for combining Jewish cuisine with a modern flair!
- Nikolai’s Roof: Known for its Russian/French food in a fine setting, we definitely would like to experience Russian cuisine.
Towns: If you are looking for cute downtown squares full of shops and eats-we recommend checking out these towns! We have spent a little time in each of these towns and found them to be fun and scenic.
- Kennesaw, GA
- Rome, GA
- Dillard, GA
- Locust Grove, GA
- Blairsville, GA
- Valdosta, GA
- Columbus, GA
- Brunswick, GA
- Pine Mountain, GA
Winery: We really felt like we made a dent in the North Georgia wine country; however, there were a few we still didn’t get to. One of our favorite parts of living in Georgia was the wine country-it was an unexpected surprise and was arguably our favorite part of living in Georgia. We loved going on a hike in the gorgeous North Georgia Mountains and then afterwards heading to one of the many wineries for a tasting and accompanying incredible views.
- City Winery: This winery is not actually in the North Georgia Mountains; however, it is very conveniently located for Atlanta dwellers as it is in the heart of the city. City Winery is located in our favorite place in the city-Ponce City Market! The company has several locations throughout the country and, as the name suggests, the winery is focused on being a venue to taste wines (and see live shows) in major cities. There are other locations in Boston, Chicago, Nashville, New York City, and Washington D.C.
- Chateau Elan Winery & Resort: Located in Braselton, GA, which is only a little over 45 minutes away from downtown Atlanta, is Chateau Elan Winery. Unlike some of the local wineries we visited, Chateau Elan emphasizes a whole experience for visitors with not only a wine tasting, but the opportunity to dine extravagantly, golf, stay overnight, and visit the spa on the property. For those looking for a stay-cation, Chateau Elan Winery & Resort may be the perfect getaway or romantic weekend.
- Engelheim Winery: Engelheim is in the town of Ellijay, GA, and the winery is situated inside a Bavarian style building overlooking the hills. Each weekend they offer live music to listen to while you have some wine.
- Cartecay Vineyards: Cartecay is also in the fun little town of Ellijay, GA and offers a tasting room within a neat barn structure. The winery offers weekend events including live music and grape crushing.
- Chateau Meichtry Family Vineyard & Winery: This winery is also situated near Ellijay, GA in Talking Rock, GA, making for a perfect addition to a winery weekend away. They have a variety of wines, so it should be easy to find something for anyone’s tastes.
- The Velo Vineyards: Located in Calhoun, GA, this little winery is situated in downtown and hosts a variety of events for holidays, making this perhaps more of a local hangout.
- Boutier Winery & Events: In a rather handsome stonework building in the eastern part of Georgia is Boutier Winery & Events. The winery is known for French style wines-so those looking for a European getaway without the flight may have found just the spot!
- Currahee Vineyards & Winery: Situated right along the South Carolina border in Toccoa, GA is Currahee Vineyards. The winery is at the base of a mountain that the winery boasts is full of history, so grab a glass and relax!
There are, of course, other activities and venues we never knew about, so please let us know about them! Since we have to return at least a couple times to Atlanta throughout the next year we plan on venturing to a few new places during our visits. We have enjoyed exploring the Southeast for the past three and a half years and look forward to new adventures in the Northeast. We are still St. Louisians at heart, of course; however, we are now officially New Yorkers, and we will never stop exploring.